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Dublin: 16 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

'I will never be banned for match-fixing': A riled Mourinho furiously hits back at Antonio Conte

The Chelsea boss served a four-month touchline suspension in 2012…but not for match-fixing.

Image: Nick Potts

JOSE MOURINHO POURED more petrol on the flames on Friday night as his verbal sparring with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte escalated.

The Manchester United manager, who watched his side beat Derby County 2-0 in their FA Cup Third Round clash at Old Trafford, was quizzed at his post-game press conference about comments made by the Italian earlier in the day.

Conte had been pressed on Mourinho’s reference to managers behaving like ‘clowns’ on the sideline – something many thought was a barb aimed at Conte and Jurgen Klopp.

The former Juventus coach suggested Mourinho was suffering from senile dementia and couldn’t remember his own previous behaviour.

Inevitably, Mourinho was asked for a response.

I don’t need the Chelsea manager to say I made mistakes in the past and will in future. What I will say is I will never be banned for match-fixing.”

The reference is to Conte’s four-month touchline ban back in 2012 when he was at Juventus. He wasn’t charged with match-fixing but for failing to alert the authorities about possible manipulation while he was boss of Serie B side Siena.

Conte always protested his innocence but was encouraged by his legal team to accept a plea bargain

He was cleared of any wrongdoing in May 2016, just prior to coaching Italy at the European Championship and then taking up the Chelsea job.

The judge in the case told the court that the allegations of fraud that were levied at Conte were ‘groundless’.

The former midfielder later said that being implicated in the entire affair for the previous four years had been ‘a nightmare’.

Conte and Mourinho have had a tetchy relationship in the Premier League.

It began just a few months after the Italian sat into the same Stamford Bridge hot-seat that Mourinho occupied on two separate occasions.

After United were thumped 4-0 in October 2016, Mourinho accused Conte of ‘humiliating’ him by the manner in which he celebrated Chelsea’s fourth goal.

Earlier this season, Conte snubbed a full-time handshake and said later:

“You have to have the respect on the pitch, not outside the pitch.”

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Conte takes aim at ‘senile’ Mourinho over touchline ‘clown’ remark

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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